Brett Sparks: vocals, guitar
Rennie Sparks: bass ukulele, banjo, vocals
Alex McMahon: lead guitar, pedal steel guitar
Jason Toth: drums
This was my first time seeing the Handsome Family in several years - for a while they always seemed to organize their tour schedules to coincide with my vacations - and they didn't disappoint. The setlist included several old favorites, two new songs off of "Wilderness" were great (I went around for days afterward singing the "Octopus" chorus: "That's why I try to stay away/From seashore holidays"), and the new arrangements, taking advantage of lead guitar/pedal steel player Alex McMahon, on loan from Albuquerque's Wildewood, were just beautiful. And, of course, Rennie and Brett were hilarious; you will never look at ant queens the same way again.
The set was a bit short - just over an hour - likely because it started late, and both Sparkses seemed ready to call it a night after just one encore. ("Don't Be Scared" was on the written setlist as a second encore, but was skipped.) Not sure why Rough Trade felt it necessary to jam in two opening bands (Cereus Bright and Richard Buckner, not recorded) for a show that started at 9 pm, but there you go.
Do not sell this recording under any circumstances or distribute it without this disclaimer. And buy all of the Handsome Family's work at http://www.handsomefamily.com/, including Rennie's books of short stories, which are just as amazing and disturbing as her song lyrics.
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